Utagawa Hiroshige, Java Sparrow and Camellia

Utagawa Hiroshige, 1797-1858

Java Sparrow and Camellia

signed Hiroshige hitsu with red artist's seal Ichiryusai, published by Kawaguchiya Shozo (Shoeido, Eisendo), ca. 1830s

chutanzaku tate-e 15 by 5 1/8 in., 38 by 13 cm

The poem reads:
Wakasama ni
mizukobu shigeri
hana tsubaki
Brimming with youth
you splash out all your water
camellia flower

The Java sparrow is a variety of finch which was introduced as a caged bird in Ming Dynasty China and then in Japan by the 17th century. Also known as the Java Finch, Java Rice Sparrow, or Java Rice Bird, they feed mainly on grain- especially rice. Although considered an agricultural pest bird in some regions, they are a gregarious species and have been popular as pets for centuries.

Cynthea J. Bogel, Israel Goldman, Alfred H. Marks (poetry translation), Hiroshige: Birds and Flowers, 1988, no. 62
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Camellia and Finch, formerly of the William S. and John T. Spaulding Collection, accession number 21.7958
Chazen Museum of Art, Java Sparrow and Camellia, Bequest of John H. Van Vleck, 1980.1877



Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays, 11am - 5pm, by appointment.

Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit.

site last updated
January 27, 2020

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475